Meanwhile on the Eastern front
So much for hearts and minds:
After more than five years of increasingly intense warfare, the conflict in Afghanistan reached a grim milestone in the first half of this year: U.S. troops and their NATO allies killed more civilians than insurgents did, according to several independent tallies.
The upsurge in deaths at the hands of Western forces has been driven by Taliban tactics as well as by actions of the American military and its allies.
But the growing toll is causing widespread disillusionment among the Afghan people, eroding support for the government of President Hamid Karzai and exacerbating political rifts among NATO allies about the nature and goals of the mission in Afghanistan.
More than 500 Afghan civilians have been reported killed this year,and theratehas dramatically increasedin the last month.
And here's a vivid reminder of the nature of guerilla warfare, where you can't tell friend from foe, and shooting a friend might turn him and his family into foes:
"It takes time to figure out that not everyone in a turban is a suicide bomber," said Hekmat Karzai, who runs a security think tank in Kabul and is a cousin of the president.
After a suicide bombing last week on the outskirts of Kabul that targeted a U.S. military convoy and killed two Western security officers, Afghan police anxiously waved journalists away.
"Don't go close," they warned. "The Americans might shoot you."